Ideas are a dime a dozen...

There is a point to this blog post, but I really don’t get to it until towards the end. I have to set up the story first : ) And yeah, it is a long post, so sue me.

When I was young and first introduced to science fiction, it set my imagination on fire and I developed a voracious appetite for reading. Even today, there are few things I enjoy as much as curling up somewhere quiet and reading a book. I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on, but I particularly enjoy science fiction, especially classic stuff that no one reads any more. Of course the plot lines and the stories themselves were fun and engaging, but what really captivated me was the wondrous sense of what the future could hold. I used to spend hours imagining what it would be like exploring new worlds, traversing through space in a ship, transferring my intelligence into a computer, gaining cybernetics that offered superhuman abilities, teleporting from one place to another, and so much more.

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TV shows and movies contributed to this as well…Star Trek, Star Wars, Logan’s Run, Buck Rogers, Bladerunner, Dune, This Island Earth, Silent Running, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Battlestar Galactica, Brainstorm, The Forbidden Planet, Outland, and of course, TRON.

As I grew a bit older, my imaginary adventures matured and I started contemplating how the cool things in the future could be made, how they could be done. What was first wonder, excitement, and anticipation, became an impatient restlessness. I didn’t want to wait…if no one else was going to do it, maybe I needed to be the one to figure this stuff out and make it happen. Still though, I was fairly young and the practical realities of life needed to be dealt with…high school, some college, a job, etc. At some point after working a couple of years (with only one year of college) as a detective for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), I decided that I wanted to make more money and do something that I loved, so I opened up a comic book store with a very good friend of mine.

This was a pretty amazing time as I could not only indulge myself with a huge range of comics in many genres, both mainstream and the edgier independents, but we also did a fair bit with role-playing games, anime, and collectibles. I already had a good bit of a background with RPGs, but my new exposure to anime here was pretty mind opening. It made a lot of western cartoons look like crass junk, and the sophistication of some of the stories rivaled classic literature. Unfortunately though, the industry decided to kill off Superman right as we were nearing the first anniversary of the store, and our business tanked.

This is where things get interesting though. Towards the end here, I met a guy that was a specialist in virtual reality (VR) and he was trying to get a startup off the ground. We featured some of his tech in the store which was awesome, but as we were closing the business, he offered me a job. Holy cow! A job making games for a virtual reality company. I jumped on it. My adventure here, and what happened later is a tale for another day, but getting back to the point of this post, I was suddenly immersed in a real-cutting edge company that was literally trying to invent the future. I discovered Neuromancer and other works by William Gibson. Mind blown.

All of this together made me realize that I wanted to be a technologist, an entrepreneur, and dare I say it, a visionary. Everything suddenly seemed possible and doable. I could find like-minded people, I could write a business plan, I could find investors, and I could build somethingthat no one else had tried or thought of.  Ideas were easy, I had lots of them (and I still do today, tons of em), but something compelling, ambitious, and visionary was the hard part. I could do it though…I had a taste of it with this VR company. As young as I was (early 20s) and without a college education, I was still smart and savvy enough to keep up with people 10 and 15 years more experienced than I was, and still bring innovative and creative thoughts and concepts to the table.

In 1995 I relocated to Raleigh North Carolina (at the time, this was emerging as the “East Coast Silicon Valley) to strike out on my own. We were going to build the world’s first real-time 3D massively multi-user online role-playing game. I was excited, eager, and my passion for it was through the roof (even now, I’m still the same about technology and startups).

I really felt like I was becoming the visionary I so desperately wanted to be when I was a kid. Some people I met got really excited. I was called a pioneer of internet gaming, a technological wunderkind, a genius (I’m smart, but I wouldn’t go that far), and much more. On the other hand, I met tons of people that said things like “PCs can’t do real-time 3D”, “people will never play (or pay) for games on the internet”, “3D virtual worlds are useless and just a fad”, “people won’t be able to understand what an avatar is”, “you are too young to start a company” [Note: no joke. This was in the mid-90’s and I was in my mid 20s.]. The list goes on. The more “practical” types were concerned that I was too “visionary” and had my heads in the cloud about what was possible to do technically and what was conceivable in terms of industry trends and business/revenue models. For the first time in my life, I was exposed to the notion that visionary was a bad word. You can’t be a successful entrepreneur and be a visionary at the same time.

I built a team, brought in some investors, and was in the middle of negotiating an international publishing deal as well as a venture deal, when things blew up. I learned a very hard lesson about people, personalities, and the absolute critical nature of picking the right team. I was shattered and devastated when it all went to hell, but that didn’t stop me from trying again. And again. And again. It is in my blood. I’m pretty sure I’ll be launching another startup when I’m 97. Screw you if you think fundable entrepreneurs can’t be older than 25. You know, after this first horrible experience as a tech startup founder, when I was working on the next company to start, two of my friends actually staged an intervention. My girlfriend threatened to break up with me if I persisted in the ridiculous notion of starting another company, and both she and one of my best friends at the time strongly suggested I get counseling from a therapist. That was a fun conversation.

I had proven then, and a couple of times since, that it is indeed possible to be a visionary, and at the same time be capable of building a team, a product, a company, and getting something to market. Sure, sometimes I am a little early to the show in terms of emerging technologies (virtual reality, mmorpgs, augmented reality, and much more), but that is part of being a visionary and a pioneer, isn’t it?

Even so, at some point somewhere, I betrayed my own ideals and self-confidence, shunning and going out of my way to avoid being labeled a visionary. Sure, when it did happen, I was secretly pleased and happy, but I knew that the label could be a scarlet letter or a brand. In “conventional” wisdom, a so-called visionary or “idea guy” needed some dour grey beard MBA or accountant to be the “adult supervision” or, preferably, the CEO. I couldn’t have it both ways and be able to bring the idea to life in the way that it should be, and at the same time do the other things necessary to fund the company and grow it.

These days (now that my beard has some grey in it) I hear other things from people like “what if someone else does it first?”, “ideas are a dime a dozen”, “that technology is just a fad, people will never use it”, or “that concept is too big, why don’t you just build an app”, and my personal favorite “why don’t you just get a normal job?”.

I’ve been thinking recently about what on one hand feels like a total lack of innovation, creativity, and real vision in the tech industry, or the same in politics (the state of our space program is a national shame in my opinion), while at the same time a sense that there are some glimmers of hope…augmented reality, virtual reality, the internet of things, computer vision, drones, self-driving cars, 3D printing, and so forth. I want to embrace the label of visionary again and go do something amazing, but there are so few people these days willing to take the risk either with their time, or with their investment capital.

This past weekend I was considering all of this and thinking about the difference between a good idea (a dime a dozen, remember) and a real vision, or rather, what makes someone a visionary? I believe that being a visionary isn’t about having a good idea, or even a great idea. Anyone can come up with those. A visionary, in my mind, is someone that not only has a good idea, but also has the ability to see the bigger picture. How do all the puzzle pieces fit together, how to define the roadmap to get there, and the process of how to make it a reality. It has to be realistic and doable.

The idea isn’t enough. A visionary sees beyond that and grasps not only the implications of what can be done but also how it should be done. This is the difference between an idea and a vision. Ideas are easy, vision is hard. The hardest though, is turning vision into reality. That takes an extraordinary amount of sheer force of will, the right team, and funding.

Don’t settle for just an idea. Don’t let people tell you it can’t be done. If you are going to throw your life, your blood, and your soul into a risky endeavor like a startup, make it a good one. Do something worthwhile and big. Why settle for flying kites when you can aim for the moon?

Even as I write that though, I feel like I should balance it with this thought…keep your head in the clouds, but keep your feet on the ground. Having a glorious destination is nice, but if you don’t plan well (and logically) on how to get there, one step at a time, you fail at being a visionary, you are just a dreamer.

Now, go do something awesome.

PS Do me a favor and leave a comment or share this if this post means anything to you or hopefully inspires you to go do something. On the other hand, you could just leave a note if you think I'm a nutcase. Either way, the feedback is appreciated.

I'm a terrible blogger...

I have a confession to make, but it should already be self-evident to those that know me or follow me. I am a terrible blogger. I'm sure my SEO is tremendously lacking, I'm not making any money from ads or adsense (I'd love to), and I'm not selling anything. 

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The terrible part though, is that I rarely post anything. Now, that isn't because I lack of things to say...I have a TON to talk about. Some people can't shut me up once I get going, but lucky for everyone I am usually more on the quiet and reserved side until I get to know you. Then watch out!

I do give myself a hard time about not posting or writing here as much as I should or want to. I find it incredibly frustrating to see other people saying or writing things on certain topics that I was talking to people about years ago. I just never got around to writing it here and publishing it. 

The other thing that has always nagged me, especially about augmented reality and virtual reality, is that I have to keep wary about what I do say and publish, because I have a lot of ideas and IP that I am patenting or that I am developing with some startup or another. 

For those of you that know me, you know I have a bad habit of writing really long emails. You would think then, that I would be a much more prolific writer here, but I am not. To be honest, writing sometimes takes a lot out of me. I can't even count how many times I started writing something, but never finished the draft because I just ran out of mental energy. I've got to work on that!

Anyway, I just put a new template on the site this afternoon, and I'm pretty fired up about writing more. So many things have happened in the last year (personally) and in the industry (recently). How could I not start writing again?

Oh, funny side story: I had one guy that worked for me for a few years... he would respond to many of my longer emails with a quick TL;DR and his name. I like to think I'm pretty savvy when it comes to the internet and web-culture, but it took me a long time to realize what that actually meant. All that time I thought he was actually reading what I was sending him. Needless to say, we had a bit of a chat when I figured it out.

 

Challenge of being an entrepreneur

Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, first President of Facebook, and co-founder of other companies like Plaxo is quoted as saying: 

Part of the challenge of being an entrepreneur, if you're going for a really huge opportunity, is trying to find problems that aren't quite on the radar yet and try to solve those.

I saw this posted by someone on twitter the other day and it started me thinking.about my own experiences and challenges. I would add to this and say that

Another challenge of being an entrepreneur, is trying to articulate the vision for a big opportunity, or solution to a problem to others that isn't obvious or on their radar yet. 

I've experienced this many times over the years. Early in my career it was virtual reality, then it was real-time 3D and massively multiplayer online role-playing games. I can't even count the number of times I was told things like "people will never use their credit card to pay for anything on the internet" or "you can't do real-time 3D on a PC, certainly not over the internet". More recently it was things like "people won't want to download software to their phones", "augmented reality is just a gimmick, there is no practical use for it", and "why would anyone share information about themselves on the web?".

Big opportunities aren't always obvious and technology, especially something new, isn't always easy to explain or make the case that there will be a market and demand for it. 

It can be frustrating to see the solution to a problem, or a different (and better) approach to something that already exists, and try to get others to understand what you are talking about. It is worth sticking to it though...as an entrepreneur you will eventually find people that understand and are believers. Keep refining your pitch, simplify things, and focus on the essentials. You will eventually find the right team and investors, and then it is up to you to bring it to life. 

Introducing Sydney!

We recently adopted Sydney, a black lab mix, from a rescue (I’ll edit in details later). She was found nearly starved to death late at night by a truck driver near a hog farm here in North Carolina. He nursed her back to health (with a lot of work from the vet). She is still extremely timid around people she doesn’t know (almost fearful of adult men), but she has warmed up to us considerably. We had some problems getting her to eat and drink from her food bowls (she was afraid of them), but she is doing fine now.

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We recently adopted Sydney, a black lab mix, from a rescue (I’ll edit in details later). She was found nearly starved to death late at night by a truck driver near a hog farm here in North Carolina. He nursed her back to health (with a lot of work from the vet). She is still extremely timid around people she doesn’t know (almost fearful of adult men), but she has warmed up to us considerably. We had some problems getting her to eat and drink from her food bowls (she was afraid of them), but she is doing fine now.

Sydney is less than a year old, and very gangly (she has long legs). One of the funny things about her is how insanely bendy she is. She can curl into a tiny ball (and usually sleeps this way), or twist her head around like an owl. She also has a funny habit of showing her perfect little front teeth when we get home from being out. It looks like she is trying to smile at us. Holly has been able to get her to do it on command a few times when she is really amped up about something.

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Sydney is less than a year old, and very gangly (she has long legs). One of the funny things about her is how insanely bendy she is. She can curl into a tiny ball (and usually sleeps this way), or twist her head around like an owl. She also has a funny habit of showing her perfect little front teeth when we get home from being out. It looks like she is trying to smile at us. Holly has been able to get her to do it on command a few times when she is really amped up about something.

Sydney is also a very sneaky thief. One minute she is next to you acting all innocent, and the next second she has a sock or a shoe in her mouth from another room, and you are wondering when and how the hell she managed to teleport around. She hides acorns and other small things in her mouth…I’ve watched her sneak something, pretend like she doesn’t have anything at all in her mouth, and chill out for ten minutes until she thinks you aren’t watching, at which point she spits it out and then starts nibbling on it.

She also likes to move things around. She will rearrange her toys in the living room, relocating them all from one place to another. I came home one afternoon and she had dragged our pillows from the bed in one room into the guest bedroom (where we had the doggie bed at), along with several shoes, miscellaneous pieces of clothes she pulled out of the laundry, and one of the folded blankets on a chair. It was like she decided to build a little fort or a nest. 

She is pretty goofy, but very sweet. Welcome to your new home Sydney.

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She is pretty goofy, but very sweet. Welcome to your new home Sydney.

Goodbye Phoebe (2000-2011)

Barely a few weeks after losing our cat Sicily, we lost our “baby” Phoebe, an amazing black lab on July 15th. I’ve been putting off writing this for months now, and I really need to get through it. I’m not sure I’ll do her justice in the first post here, so I’ll probably go back later and edit it.

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Like Sicily, Phoebe suffered a rapid onslaught of cancer. We noticed a number of small hard lumps going in almost a straight line down her back, and initially attributed them to a skin reaction from changing the stuff we used for anti-flea/tick. But they quickly became larger and harder, and then she simply stopped eating. We tried everything to get her to eat (and I mean everything you can think of). The vet wasn’t sure what the problem was, but was concerned about the lumps, so we tried some different meds and food, and he took a biopsy of one of the lumps.

Long story short, it was cancer and progressing rapidly. In less than two weeks she went from a happy and active dog, to a frail shadow of herself that struggled to stand on her own and could barely drink water. After some long conversations with the vet and now a specialist at the NC State Vet School (one of the highest rated in the country) we decided to try to treat her. There was a reasonable possibility of beating the cancer or we wouldn’t have tried. 

So we tried and she improved quite a bit for a couple of days, but then she got worse again, and very quickly. She couldn’t stand on her own anymore, wouldn't eat again, lost control of her bowels, and was panting in a very haggard manner. We took her back to the emergency room late that night, and they told us she was having a hard time breathing and getting oxygen, and she was starting to get dehydrated. They said they would do what they could to get her through the night, but we needed to make a decision.

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We went back in that next morning and she was still in their intensive care ward. She looked so pitiful. She could barely lift her head an inch off the ground to great us, and her tail could barely wiggle the tip. The vet told us she didn’t think Phoebe could make it another day and was struggling to just breathe. Holly and I decided to let her go peacefully and we were thankful to God for the extra time we had with her while we were trying to treat the cancer.

She ws a talented begger as well. You couldn’t make anything in the kitchen without her needing to be there to inspect what was going on and beg for scraps. She felt she had a duty to lick every plate and bowl before it went into the dish washer (especially if it had macaroni and cheese in it beforehand). We took her to the beach with us every year, and she would go nuts chasing the surf or just running around in the sand. 

She always greeted us at the door, and was sure to bark at any odd sounds or people she wasn’t familiar with. But she was tremendously sweet for a dog. Even late at night when I would be working at the computer, she would come in, sit down next to me, and put her head in my lap. And of course, when she was cold she had her spot on the bed, even if that meant pushing us off.

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She always greeted us at the door, and was sure to bark at any odd sounds or people she wasn’t familiar with. But she was tremendously sweet for a dog. Even late at night when I would be working at the computer, she would come in, sit down next to me, and put her head in my lap. And of course, when she was cold she had her spot on the bed, even if that meant pushing us off.

I have so many more things to say or talk about, but I’m running a little out of steam now. Even months later, it is hard to talk about her. I loved that dog dearly, and anyone that knows me, will tell you we bragged about her a lot and were devastated at losing her. It still hurts deeply. I catch myself looking for her, or expecting to see her around the corner. I can barely look at my photos of her without tearing up a little bit. 

We recently adopted a new member to the family, another black lab mix (rescue), named Sydney. I’ll write about her later. Its been hard not calling her Phoebe, and remembering what we have lost, but she is quite a unique dog herself and is already making new memories with us.

I can’t help but think that Phoebe would have liked Sydney, and I wish they could have met. I think they would have gotten along well.

 I’ll probably upload some other photos here or in the gallery later.

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Goodbye Sicily Cat (1998?-2011)

I lost my calico cat, Sicily, to lung cancer tonight.

I am a dog person, and most of my friends will tell you that I brag about my black lab, Phoebe, all the time. My wife and I love that dog like a child. Some of you will understand this and know what I mean.

We don’t talk a lot about our cat Sicily though. Mostly because, I guess, she has been such a quiet fixture in our lives for almost thirteen years (she was a “rescue” when we got her). She was a gorgeous calico cat, if a little overweight, very sweet, affectionate, and pretty damned cuddly. She like lazing around the house laying flat on her back, or curled up on a pile of laundry. I loved Sicily as much as I love Phoebe, but our relationship was different. She was always in the background, napping in a corner, or chasing imaginary prey through the house with her tail fluffed out like it was an afterburner propelling her at light speeds.

Sicily liked to sit on the back of my office chair every now and then, and grab the back of my head in her paws and start grooming my hair. That was funny until she used her claws to make me hold still. I remember waking up one morning, years ago, with her sitting on my chest, purring, and trying to groom my moustache. That was a bit unsettling obviously.

Over the past year and a half or so, she had gotten into the habit of jumping up on my lap while I’m watching TV. I usually recline back a bit, and she eventually would situate herself across my lap and chest, sometimes with her arms stretched out towards my shoulders. Without fail, I sit down, TV comes on, and before the first commercial break, there she is, making herself at home.

She liked to nap on the vents in the house (warm in winter, cool in summer). She loved a little zebra stuffed toy thing with catnip in it. String was her absolutely favorite toy (she would literally play fetch with it). And she adamantly refused to drink water out of her bowl. She would only drink out of Phoebe’s water bowl.

About six weeks or so, Siciliy developed a small lump inbetween her forelegs. It felt like a typical fatty lump that most pets get, so no worries. In the last several weeks, the thing grew quickly to something about the size of a half dollar, which was causing us some concern and we planned on taking her to the vet to get it checked out. However, in the last two days, we noticed that she was coughing and hacking a lot, like she had a bad hairball she couldn’t spit out, and last night her breathing was a little accelerated. By this afternoon it was very shallow and rapid. By this evening, she looked like a runner after running a race. And then we noticed that the lump on her chest was bleeding and she wouldn’t stop licking it.

Time to head to the emergency vet. We had originally planned for a mobile vet to come out for the exam (she gets very distressed in cars), but that wasn’t going to work. Anyway, we took her to the emergency vet clinic at NC State, and got there around 1am. They put her on oxygen, took some x-rays, and told us her lungs were severely compromised with cancer (“extremely bad” the vet said).

They let us see her again, and she looked very ragged. Even worse than when we had brought her in probably less than a half an hour earlier. She still looked pretty alert, and still very distressed (she didn’t handle the brief car ride to the vet very well at all either). Holly and I started petting her and trying to soothe her. She calmed down and tried purring, but could barely manage that with her lungs.

I decided to have her put to sleep. I love that cat very much and while I want nothing in the world right now, but to have her sitting on my lap as I write this, I couldn’t stand the thought of what she was going through not being able to breathe, and having a lung full of cancer growths. Some day I might write about the final years of my mothers life battling progressive systemic schlerosis (schleroderma) and how it affected her lungs, but I am still coming to terms with that (she passed away in 2000), and I’m not feeling in a talkative enough mood to share that much right now.

Anyway, the vet (wonderful, named Nicole), was very empathic and gentle about the whole process. I held Sicily in my lap with her head in my hand, and Holly was sitting next to me, stroking the fur on her back, as Nicole administered the drugs. Sicily passed away quickly, and painlessly. We spent a few more minutes petting her and saying our final goodbyes.

It pains me deeply that I don’t have more photos of Sicily. I loved that cat. I have so many memories of her going through my mind. Things she liked, things she didn’t like, little quirks of personality, the little fuzzy nuzzling affections, her meow, her purring, her darting little paws underneath doors trying to bat at some toy or another, playing fetch with a short length of parachute cord (she LOVED tearing through the house dragging that in her mouth), and times when she tried bossing Phoebe around.

I’m sorry to lose you Sicily. It will be a while before this pain, like so many others in my life, settles into a dull scar. We will miss your playfulness, your fuzzy affection, and carrying you around in our arms like a baby (she liked that a lot too).

 

JFK 5AM

I’m sitting by Gate 15 at JFK (Jet Blue), by myself in a corner charging up the laptop. I’m struck by how surreal things feel right now. There are maybe two other people (that I can see) here, aside from six airport staff (four of which are struggling with a malfunctioning door alarm. I don’t actually hear the alarm, as I’m wearing a badass pair of Skullcandy Titan earbuds. I made the mistake of taking them out a few minutes ago, and OMG that alarm is piercing. That means the noise cancelling on these $39.99 headphones is pretty damn awesome. I recommend!

Anyway, back to surreal in JFK. I’m listening to some decent tunes…already gone through some Cloud Cult, Jordin Sparks, Cake, Teddybears, Daft Punk, Bomb the Bass, Robyn, La Roux, Hybrid, Gipsy Kings, and Utah Saints (hey, I like variety). I feel a little disjointed, kind of like I’m not really here, or I am only partially here. Time is passing pretty slowly, but also pretty fast. This isn’t the first time I’ve effectively stayed at an airport all night, but it is nowhere as bad as it could be (or has been in the past).

I’m feeling pretty contemplative…thinking back over the panel I was on at Comic Con NYC with Alex Macris and Greg Costikyan titled “I’m From the Future and I LARP: Augmented Reality, Role Playing and You”. There were a lot of great questions and I met some interesting people, but in retrospect I feel like I could have answered some questions better. For the few people that got my email address at the end, I hope they follow through and contact me with their questions.

I was only at the Con for today, which kind of sucks, as I didn’t get to see everything, but I did get to hang out with the folks from the Escapist (I love these guys), and I got to meet Karl Kerschl, the creator of The Abominable Charles Christopher, one of my absolute favorite webcomics. I ordered one of his books a couple months ago and paid extra for the autograph/custom sketch inside the cover. I picked it up today and watched as Karl blew my mind with a quick sketch (I’ll scan and add to this post later). I swear, it doesn’t look like he penned it on the spot…it looks like it was printed. Yeah, he is that good. I am totally a fan. He is amazing.

Anyway, after everything was over, I hooked up with Chris Grayson (@chrisgrayson) for several hours. Chris is a great guy and a great host. We chatted about a lot of things, but mostly about advertising, marketing, broadcast, mobile, virtual, augmented, and so on. Very good stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And then he had to go home and I had to head here to the airport.

I’m thinking now about how long it has been since I last posted here (January?!). So much has happened since then. I’ve been to a couple of events (usually as a speaker or keynote) and I’ve missed some big ones…SXSW, ARE, E3, ISMAR, etc. Really sucks. On the other hand, I’ve been completely busy with some family stuff and working to keep my startup cranking. I think we are up to 13 or 14 people now, and we are flying. I’d kill for another local mobile developer (Raleigh NC baby!), but we are doing pretty good. Yes, we are several weeks behind schedule, but otherwise, I think the ultimate timing is going to be good. We have some neat stuff that we are going to roll out in the next month or so, and some even cooler stuff shortly after that. It is hard to avoid talking about it : )

I’m going to try to get back into the habit of posting here regularly again. I still have a lot to say and a lot of observations to make. There are some interesting things developing in multiple industries, and they are definitely worth discussing. And of course, there is a lot going on in the whole, Social, Local, Augmented Reality sector.

We shall see. In the meantime, feel free to post some comments on here and let me know what you are thinking. I like feedback and I feel a bit weird if I don’t get any.

By the way, if I met you today or at SASK Interactive 2010 in Canada a couple weeks back, Yes, I know I need a haircut. I don’t always look like I stuck my fingers in a socket. Its just how my hair likes to grow when it gets long haha.

See you soon.

Robert Rice

 

AR Fiction: Forensics Simulations and Crime Scene Analysis

She set down her bag and reached up to her glasses, tapping a barely noticeable touch sensitive key at the corner of the frames. A softly glowing heads up display pulsed into existence in front of her, immediately sensing her location in the real world and on the meta-net.

“Initialize.” she commanded. “Voice authentication: Alpha-Zulu-Romeo-Bravo-Zero-Niner-Seven.”

A nondescript male voice spoke in her ear. “Authenticated, Lieutenant Kendra Jackson, Enhanced Sensory Perception, ESPer Team 5”

“Begin scanning, crime scene, domestic, murder.”